Short Message on SESTA/FOSTA and SB1204

A Short Message on SESTA/FOSTA and SB 1204

As an organization that has advocated for decriminalization of all facets of the sex industry since 1999, St. James Infirmary stands in direct opposition to both SESTA / FOSTA and SB 1204.

We have an obligation to not only our participants, but also to our funders, government contractors, and community stakeholders to continue and strengthen all of our programs and services, especially our Outreach and Harm Reduction Services.

Criminalization and incarceration of our community further marginalizes and disenfranchises us, which creates barriers to capacity building, exacerbates a public health crisis, and does nothing to minimize acts of coercion or violence.

St. James Infirmary is currently collecting additional information and planning how to provide comprehensive feedback to the community regarding these ill-conceived and harmful policies that are unfortunately moving forward.

For now, please refer to the following sites for more information and support:

Facts on SESTA/FOSTA from EFF

White House Petition to Repeal and Stop SESTA/FOSTA

Survivors Against SESTA

Ongoing Coverage on Tits and Sass

Article on The Root

St. James Welcomes Our New Executive Director

SJI Welcomes Our New Executive Director

Effective May 9th, 2018, Toni Newman will be taking over as the Executive Director for St. James Infirmary. St. James Infirmary is a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic located in San Francisco, CA, offering free, compassionate, and non-judgmental healthcare and social services for former and current sex industry workers. With the many challenges facing the aforementioned, including but not limited to political climate, homelessness, violence, and the overwhelming intricacies of the legal, public and social systems; St. James Infirmary Offers a non-biased alternative, providing individuals with culturally competent and non-judgmental services.

Currently serving as the Development Officer for Maitri Compassionate Care, Toni will bring years of experience and direct knowledge to St. James Infirmary. Toni is a 1985 graduate of Wake Forest University and current candidate for her Juris of Doctorate (JD). Toni previously served as the Interim Director of Development & Communications at the To Help Everyone Health and Wellness Center and as a Strategic Fundraiser, Volunteer Recruiter, and Legislative Aide for Equality California.

Additionally, Toni is a best selling author, noted for her memoir I Rise -The Transformation of Toni Newman released in 2011. The memoir has been featured in Ebony and Advocate magazines, and nominated for the prestigious Lambda Literary award. Most recently the memoir has been produced into a short film titled Heart of a Woman by Alton Demore and Keith Holland; the film has been and continues to be screened in film festivals across the globe.

“We are thrilled to have Toni Newman leading St. James Infirmary, as we approach such an important milestone in our organizational history – our 20 year anniversary in June 2019. Toni brings a wealth of experience to St. James Infirmary, specifically, many years of programmatic oversight and fierce fundraising skills. We can’t wait to see how our organization thrives under her leadership, and are so excited for our future!”

– Johanna Breyer, Interim Executive Director; Co-founder of St. James Infirmary

Toni’s work at Maitri Compassionate Care has been both paramount and humbling, helping to cultivate messaging and lasting awareness. Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS.

Of the many components to Toni’s work at Maitri, she has been instrumental in its annual fundraiser and gala Maitri Bliss which Toni has successfully been coordinating for the past 3 years. Before her leave, Toni will see Maitri off one last time with its Maitri Bliss 2018, to take place on Sunday, May 6th, 2018 featuring Jennifer Holliday, Frenchie Davis, Jonny Zywiciel, Jason Stuart and hosted by Dale Johannes. Maitri Bliss 2018 will be celebrating Maitri’s 31 years of service and its first female Executive Director, Anne Gimbel.

“In Toni’s almost three years as Development Manager, she has exceeded her expectations to raise more money each year at our Bliss Gala! Toni is a strong professional and knows development and organizational structure. She is an excellent choice to be the Executive Director at St. James Infirmary.”

– Anne Gimbel, Executive Director of Maitri Compassionate Care

Won’t You Be Our Valentine?

be mine.

We’ve Gone Mobile! 

Over 15 years ago, under the leadership of our founding Medical Director Dr. Deborah Cohan, St. James Infirmary conducted a “Pilot Van Study” funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Ford Foundation. In the Pilot Program, our Outreach Workers visited several neighborhoods in San Francisco where Sex Workers were living or working, including the Mission and Tenderloin Districts. Our intent was to report the number of Sex Workers who were out and about during the week, and justify the need for a mobile van. Last month, our dream finally came true!

We now have our own van! We’ve already hit the road in the new 2018 Sprinter, launching mobile services in the Mission, Tenderloin, Civic Center, and SOMA. Thanks to the tremendous advocacy and support of Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s Office and the Department on the Status of Women, we are able to mobilize our clinical services, outreach, syringe access, and peer counseling and testing to the Mission District and other areas throughout San Francisco.

In January, Naughty Nurse Celestina Pearl, transitioned into the role of Outreach Coordinator to launch this exciting new outreach program.

We’re thrilled to see this dream come to fruition, and with such perfect timing!The launch of the program was featured as front page news in SF Weekly this past December.

SJI van 3

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“Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers” policy provides amnesty from arrest, launches national conversation 

sfweekly

Nearly 20 years ago, San Francisco Sex Workers and Activists began conversations with the San Francisco Police Department towards the creation of higher accountability from police officers in taking reports from sex workers regarding violence, more seriously and without retaliation. This effort birthed the SF Police Commission’s “Crimes Against Prostitutes Team”, which employed Vice Unit officers to field complaints from sex workers who experienced violence. 
 
Obviously, this was completely ineffective.
 
The Vice Unit have since disbanded, and last month, the San Francisco Police Department, and the SF District Attorney’s Office, announced the issue of the “Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers” bulletin- a policy created by community stakeholders from St. James Infirmary, US Prostitutes Collective, BAY-SWAN, LYRIC, RTI International and the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. 
 
The policy mandates that sex workers will not be arrested or prosecuted for prostitution or minor drug offenses if they come forward to report violence that either they themselves experiences, or that they witnessed. It also provides more explicit framework for law enforcement who coerce or intimidate sex workers into sexual activity, citing other SFPD policies. 
 
Special thanks to our community partners who co-developed this policy, many of whom have been working on this effort since 1998. 
 
“Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers” is an important first step in
creating immunity for our most vulnerable participants, and a policy initiative that can
be replicated across the State and nation-wide.
 
 
Check out the news coverage here and here!
So, Won’t You Be Our Valentine? 
Ways to Give: 
 
B. (Click the KITTY to donate through paypal):  

pusheen flowers